TITLE: "It's A Wonderful Spike"

DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to Joss Whedon, 20th Century Fox, et al.

SPOILERS: "The Gift," and parts of Angel season four, but I'm sure you all know that by now.

RATING: Nothing too offensive, really...

"Thank you so bloody much," Spike growled. "I'm feeling much more at peace, really."

"I'm so sorry," Skip's previously unknown brother Scotty fumbled, understandably flustered. "I've never had that happen before."

"I cannot tell you how comforting that is," Spike snapped sarcastically.

"I mean... I didn't check the alternate timescape before I took you there..." Scotty apologized profusely, which looked more than a little ridiculous given how large and deadly and armor-y he was.

Spike simply was not in the mood for excuses. "You were supposed to make me feel better about myself," he told Scotty, who obviously already knew that. "I mean, I don't go for the whole 'broody redemption' scene, but... I'd like to think that I've made a difference."

"You're a champion, Spike," Scotty supplied, completely at a loss for any other justification for the vampire's current existence.

"See, that's what I thought," Spike continued. "And then the Powers That Be sent you to show me what the world would be like if I'd never been born."

Scotty attempted to look sheepish, which (again) given his mass and obvious power rating didn't quite take. "I admit that things didn't turn out the way I would have expected."

"'Didn't turn out...'" Spike snarled. "Everyone was better off! Everyone!"

"Well, yes, but..."

"Buffy never even died! That whole mess with The First didn't even happen!" Spike howled like a wounded animal. "How could that even work?"

"Well, you were never there to introduce Dawn to Doc, so..."

Spike shot him a stabbing stare.

"Oh," Scotty realized, "you were speaking rhetorically. I can never quite get that."

"Terribly sorry for you, mate," Spike replied. "Really."

"Look, this idea was kind of a bust. I should have done my research, admit that," Scotty admitted. "It's just... in all the centuries I've spent showing champions what the world would have been like without them, I've never had things turn out like that before."

Spike pursed his lips tightly to contain as much of the rage as possible. "I thought I told you to stop reminding me about that."

"Sorry," Scotty said weakly.

"Whatever," Spike snorted.

Then Scotty was struck by a thought. "Hey! What about your old girlfriend Drusilla? She would have died decades ago if you hadn't been there to protect her."

Spike looked at him coldly through hooded eyes. "Which I'm sure is of great comfort to the thousands she would never have been able to slaughter were it not for my timely intervention."

"A lot of those people would have died by now anyway," Scotty offered helpfully.

Spike recoiled into his coat. "How did you get this job, anyway?"

"Well, I was specially constructed by agents of the Powers for this and other minor tasks..." Scotty paused. "You were being rhetorical again, weren't you?"

"Yes," Spike spat.

"Skip would have got that," Scotty admitted, slumping his staggeringly huge shoulders in defeat. "I mean... sure, he was a manipulative insane conspirator... but he got people."

As pathetic a figure as Scotty was currently cutting, Spike couldn't help but feel no sympathy whatsoever for him, possibly because he was showering so much of it upon himself. "Look, I'm going to go out and get stupendously pissed," he explained. "Next time to Powers decide I need a bit of cheering up... tell them to send me a little blonde with taste for handcuffs."

With that he swooshed his way past Scotty and back out into the night. It looked like he had a full eternity ahead of him.

Let me know how I did on this one, please.